Tag Archives: No. Mad.

The Trash Jar

If you’ve been in the zero waste tags on social media, I’m sure you’ve seen those posts where people claim they can fit a year’s worth (or more) of their trash in a mason jar. I understand why they use it – it’s a very effective, shocking picture to most people who don’t think about how much trash they’re actually producing.

But, it’s bullshit!

For one, there is always a reason you could come up with to leave a certain piece out of the jar. Many I’ve seen say they only use the jar for their ‘actual’ trash, and that it doesn’t count their recycling, or food waste. And what about glass jars, or other plastic containers they’re reusing?

It can also make zero waste seem unattainable. Hell, even the term ‘zero waste’ makes it sound impossible! But, here’s the real scoop: you don’t actually have to produce zero waste to live a zero waste lifestyle. In this day and age, it’s virtually impossible to have absolutely no waste, anyways, so trying to make that your goal will just drive you crazy at best, and at worse, make you quit before you even get started.

I understand that waste is a big problem we’re facing globally. When we throw something away, it doesn’t magically disappear – it has to still go somewhere. Kind of like when you finish eating and you do the dishes. You say you put the dishes ‘away’ after washing them, but they’re not actually ‘away’, they’re still there. You just put them in a different spot.

Driving ourselves crazy trying to reduce our own waste is not and should not be the goal for zero waste living. Companies and manufacturers should be the ones trying to implement zero waste initiatives. If every company produces food in plastic packaging, what are we as consumers expected to do, not eat? No, instead, we should be voting with our dollars.

A company can only exist if there are people buying their products. So instead of placing all the burden on us to completely fix the waste problem (which is virtually, if not entirely impossible), we should be using our collective voices to tell companies what we will – and won’t – buy from them. If enough customers tell a company something, they will change how they offer their products to meet demand.

This is literally how supply and demand works!

Now, you may be thinking, ‘okay, well what if I just grow my own food? Then I wouldn’t have to worry about plastic/waste packaging from companies’. Well, that’s only about half right. Yes, you wouldn’t have to buy plastic wrapped food, but growing your own food still produces waste. There’s seed packets, pots/plant beds, soil, watering products, special lights (if wanting to grow inside), gardening tools, etc.

You would have to go to a store and purchase all of the above, many of which would at least have a barcode sticker or some sort of tag, and at most, come in a (most probable) plastic bag. All those little bits of trash would still have to go in the jar. And sure, you could leave the barcode sticker on the product (depending on what it is), but that wouldn’t mean it’s not still a piece of trash.

And that’s not even mentioning how difficult it can be to try and start growing your own food. Also, not everyone lives in a climate that would allow them to do this, and their living situations may be too small to do so inside. Or, they may be too busy to start a home garden. It takes a lot of time and commitment to attempt growing your own food, and for many people, it’s just not a viable option.

While showing a picture of trash in a jar may be a cool aesthetic for social media purposes, it’s really not attainable, but that’s okay! As long as you are a person who is actively trying to produce less waste, then you are doing just fine.

I know it can be hard, but try not to be too hard on yourself. You cannot single-handedly solve the waste issues of the entire world!

Just… try your best.


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Soap Nuts: My Experience (Eco Nuts Soap Nuts Sample Review)

This article is talking about soap nuts. To save time, I’ve shortened this to  ‘nuts’ during most of the article, resulting in some… funny sentences. Please try to excuse these as you read through the article.


Like before committing to doing most things, I did some research about soap nuts long before I decided to try them.

In my research, I learned that soap nuts grow primarily in two places: the Himalayan mountains, and Canada. Being in Canada, I thought it would make more sense for me to try some soap nuts that were native here. If for nothing else, it would be pretty wasteful/silly of me to ship something in from another country that naturally grows here, right?

Right. Or, so you’d think.

Apparently, Canadian soap nuts (which are commonly referred to as ‘buffalo berries’), are considered endangered, and thus are not available for purchase. While I understand wanting to preserve the plant (you can’t even buy the seeds to plant your own!), as said above, it seems silly for Canadian who want a more natural laundry detergent to have to spend money on shipping a native plant from the Himalayas.

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That said, I really wanted to see if they were worth the hype, so I found this company called Eco Nuts, and ordered their sample pack of soap nuts in late May, 2021. (They arrived early June) This was a Canadian company that unfortunately no longer exists (they were already going out of business when I placed my order). I had naively thought that if I was ordering from a Canadian company, I would be getting the Canadian buffalo berries.

Unfortunately, this wasn’t the case, as their About page stated that their nuts were from the Himalayan mountains.

The quest for buying Canadian soap nuts aside, I was actually very impressed with how well they worked, and was even gifted a bag of soap nuts from the biggest Canadian distributor, Sinfully Wholesome for Christmas in 2021, so I thankfully have a lot of soap nuts to go through while I try to figure out another more natural, native solution.

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Even though it was a sample box, the Eco Nuts Sample was a lot smaller than I thought it’d be. I had no idea how big the berries were, or how many I’d get to fulfill 10 loads of laundry (as the sample pack page said).

Turns out, 4 whole berries + 1 half and a mesh bag was all I apparently needed.

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Now, I’m going to be honest, I ended up reading the FAQ page wrong at first, so my soap nuts didn’t last for 10 loads.

See, the way soap nuts work is that they have this thing called saponin in them, which is the part that makes them actually clean stuff. It’s also the thing we try to replicate when making man-made soaps. To get the nuts to secrete it, you have to agitate the nuts (or rub them together in your hands) and use some warm water to soften the hard exterior shell, so it can seep out.

Now, as someone who has a lot of dark-coloured clothes, I basically exclusively wash all my clothes in cold water, because using hot water a) is bad for them, since it could make the colours bleed, or shrink them, and b) uses unnecessary resources/heat and therefore, wastes money. (And let’s be honest, not many of us have ‘extra’ money to blow on something so small)

Anyway, so on the Eco Nuts FAQ page, it said that if you were going to wash clothes in cold water, you could still use the nuts, just that you had to make a sort of tea with them – put the nuts in the mesh bag, and then pour boiling/hot water on them, let them soak (to get the saponin out), then pour the ‘tea’ into the washing machine, then wash as normal.

The part of that I seemed to miss, was the part that said you’re supposed to pour both the tea and the bag of nuts in the washer, because they will still secrete some saponins, because of the agitation of the machine. So the very first load I did with them, I just dumped the tea in, and left the nuts out.

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Soap nut ‘tea’, I used a chopstick as a stir stick.

Honestly though, I did it exactly the way I make tea, meaning I boiled water in my kettle, and immediately poured it over the nuts, so I think I took out all the saponins that were inside them. Which isn’t necessarily bad, but I think because I did this, I kind of screwed myself for the following loads.

The first tea I made, the colour was a dark brown colour, and it actually looked like I had made tea with them. The second tea I made, the water colour barely changed. And the third time I made the tea, it didn’t change colours at all.

Aside from that, when I made the first ‘tea’, I discovered that the nuts had a faint smell to them while they were soaking. It wasn’t a bad smell per se, but it also wasn’t good. It faintly smelled like clean laundry, but also had a… pungent-ness that definitely wasn’t apitizing. Which I guess is good, because even though they’re called soap nuts, you’re not really supposed to eat them.

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Close up of a dry soap nut and the mesh bag, fresh out of the sample pack.

After washing my clothes as normal, using the tea, when I pulled them out to put the in the dryer, I smelled them, and they didn’t smell like anything. They didn’t smell dirty/unclean, but they also didn’t have that artificial ‘cleanliness’ smell that most detergents leave. They were neutral.

Some people may not like their clothes smelling like nothing, but honestly since I started this more natural living journey, I found it actually quite refreshing. I don’t know if it’s my mind playing tricks, or something that happens once you start cutting out a lot of man-made chemical products from your day-to-day, but I’ve actually notice myself becoming more sensitive to those chemical smells.

And the weirdest part is they never used to bother me before! I used to just smell the smell, and not the chemicals, if that makes sense. I used to find it pleasant, and now I just… don’t. Whether it’s laundry detergent, certain soaps and shampoos, dryer sheets, or aerosol sprays, they’re just not things I want around me, anymore. (Not that I wanted them around me anyways, but that was ‘just the way it was’)

The website also said that soap nuts had natural anti-static and anti-cling properties, so you wouldn’t need a dryer sheet when drying. I’d been not using dryer sheets for a little bit before that (I made some homemade ones and had been using those) so I didn’t bother tossing in a ‘regular’ (store-bought) dryer sheet, or a homemade one.

The clothes came out not static-y at all, but I don’t think this was more the material of the clothes I was washing, and not the soap nuts themselves, because on a later load, I did the same thing, and the clothes came out very static-y.

I only ended up using this pack of soap nuts for 4 loads of laundry, because as I said above, the ‘tea’ I made seemed to get much weaker after the 1st time. I still have the nuts and the bag, though. I was actually going to save them to do a comparison for this article, so you could see the difference between new and dried up soap nuts.

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Soap nuts air-drying after being through the washer.

I say ‘was’ because while I can see with my eye that the nuts are a different colour, for some reason, the difference hardly shows up on my phone camera. I don’t know if there’s some colour setting I need to change, or if it’s just a lighting thing, but I couldn’t get a good comparison picture, so you’ll just have to use your imagination.

You can definitely tell the used nuts are a lighter when compared to not-used nuts. They most likely will also not remain whole by the time you’re done with them. Especially if making ‘tea’ with them, you’ll need to stir them around in the water to make sure the saponins are actually coming out. Submerging the nuts like this makes them soft, and thus more prone to breaking.

All in all, I definitely think soap nuts are a great alternative for people looking to change to a more natural laundry detergent/cleaner. I also think if you’re able to get your hands on some (sustainably, of course), you should definitely test them out for yourself!


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2 Zero Waste Recipes to Replace Store Bought

Going zero waste might seem like a massive undertaking, but it doesn’t have to be!

No one is saying you have to throw out all your non-zero waste items/products – in fact, it’s actually less ‘zero waste’ if you do! It’s much better to use what you have, and then when it comes time to replace things, swap out landfill-bound items for more sustainable ones.

Doing this will not only ensure you use up everything you have until it’s gone, which in term will be better for the environment, but it can also help lessen the amount of stress you feel to switch your lifestyle.

Listen, I get it: now that you know, you can’t un-know, and you want to get started on being the new you ASAP. That is fantastic news – the world needs as many eco-heroes as it can get! But instead of creating more unneeded waste, start slow, and build up your eco-friendly life one thing at a time.

To get you started, I’ve listed 2 zero waste recipes you can switch your store-bought items for the next time you finish them. Keep in mind, that while these DIY recipes are better for the environment, they may not work exactly the same as store-bought products. But, I don’t want you to fret, I’ve tested and used both, and they still get the job done!

1. Toothpaste

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Ingredients:

  • 1 Tbsp Coconut Oil
  • 1 Tbsp Baking Soda
  • 4 Drops Peppermint Essential Oil (Optional)

First up, is this zero waste toothpaste. This recipe is great, because it only has 3 ingredients (or 2), and comes together in less than 5 minutes! (Assuming you don’t have to run around your house or go to the store to order the ingredients) Just mix together all the ingredients in a jar, or storage container, and boom, you’re done. What could be easier than that?

Another great thing about this toothpaste is: you know exactly what’s in it! Not only that, but you’ll get the same benefits as traditional toothpaste, without all the unnecessary added ingredients or manmade chemicals!

Baking soda is actually the ingredient traditional toothpastes use to clean your teeth, and it’s also been used as a whitening agent. (You can use baking soda both as a whitening agent for laundry [which will be talked about below] and for teeth)

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The coconut oil has antimicrobial properties, and it’s a natural alternative to other manmade chemical-laded antimicrobial products, which means it’s naturally healthier for you. Being a natural ingredient not only means it’s SLS (Sodium Lauryl Sulfate) and SLES (Sodium Laureth Sulfate) free, but it’s also been shown to inhibit the growth of bad mouth bacteria, like s. mutans (Streptococcus mutans is the official name). These s mutans are one of the major bacteria’s that cause plaque and tooth decay due to their acidity.

SLS and SLES are foaming agents that are often found in shampoos, soaps, etc. They are the reason for all the bubbles/suds you get when you lather, however, they have been shown to cause allergic reactions (which is something I found out the hard way when testing some Lush shampoo), and, when used in toothpastes, they can actually mess with your taste buds!

The peppermint essential oil may seem like it’s just there to give you a better flavour, which is right – it will give you that classic mint-y clean feel you’re used to, but peppermint essential oil has a lot of other great benefits as well! One of which, is giving your energy levels a boost. I’m not too sure on the exact science as to why it gives you an energy boost (I haven’t done too much research into essential oils yet), but I can definitely attest to it working!

Whether that’s a matter of placebo or not is yet to be determined, but in either case, it will definitely make this homemade toothpaste taste better (without, it will taste like baking soda + coconut oil, which is pretty salty and not in a good way), so if nothing else, you could still use it for that.

I’ve been using this homemade toothpaste since April 2021, and aside from the saltiness the first time using it (I didn’t add enough peppermint), I don’t really have any complaints. It works great! The only thing to note is that because the base is coconut oil, it may solidify, or liquefy depending on the temperature. This is completely normal, and you can still use it in either state.

However, if you need it more solid (or less solid), you can either pop the jar into the fridge, or run it under hot water, or, place it in front of a vent/near something hot for a few minutes. You may also need to re-stir the coconut oil and baking soda together if it liquefies.

*Important: Make sure if you’re using essential oil, you get one that says it’s safe to consume. Some of them say to not use orally!

 

2. Laundry Cubes/Toilet Cleaner

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Ingredients:

  • Baking Soda
  • Vinegar

I know how this sounds, but baking soda + vinegar can be used to clean just about anything, and these cubes are perfect for a lot of those different uses!

I originally made these cubes after wanting to switch my man-made chemical-filled laundry detergent. I had discovered the world of soap nuts, but while I was on my quest to get my hands on some (apparently the native-to-Canada ones can’t be sold/bought because they’re protected), I still had to do laundry.

Since I had already learned vinegar + baking soda was strong enough to clean a toilet bowl, and bath tub, I figured it was strong enough to clean my not-that-dirty everyday clothing. I did a bit of research anyway, and discovered vinegar and baking soda were used often in conjunction with conventional laundry detergents to help up their oomph.

I learned baking soda was often used to make white clothes whiter, and vinegar was a natural way to eliminate odours, brighten and even soften clothing. This is because it contains acetic acid, which also makes it a disinfectant, antibacterial, and anti-a-lot-of-other things. (This is why vinegar can be used to clean so many household items)

After learning that, I figured what the hell, and decided to try doing a load. The load I did was of my reusable pads, and while I was a little skeptical when they went in, I was really impressed with how they came out! The mixture had gotten all of the blood stains (‘gross!’ I know, but that’s just what happens when you get blood in fabric) out, and had completely eliminated that used pad smell. In fact, when I pulled them out of the washer, they didn’t smell like anything. There was no ‘this is clean’ fake laundry detergent scent, but they also no longer had that ‘we’re dirty’ smell – they were neutral.

It may have also been my imagination, or the agitation from just being in the washing machine, but they also felt more ‘fluffy’ then when I had tossed them in. I don’t know if it was for sure the baking soda and vinegar, but the next load I tried I did regular clothes, and, (once they came out of the dryer) I discovered they were much softer than usual, and they weren’t static-y at all.

After test washing two loads (one pads, one clothes) with the mixture, I decided to go ahead and make a bigger batch to be used for later loads. I have an ice cube tray I had used when making shower bombs as x-mas gifts for friends and family a few years ago that I used, and I used the same formula to make the cubes.

First, I measured out the baking soda into a bowl, then, I very, very slowly (like, 1 tsp at a time slowly) added the vinegar, mixing after each spoonful, to make sure it was fully incorporated. Once thoroughly mixed, I filled the ice cube tray, and let the cubes dry out.

Once they were mostly dry, I turned the cubes out of the tray onto a wire rack (like one used to cool cookies), and let them sit for another 24 hours, just to make sure they were fully dried.

After that, I transferred them to a jar for storage. Then, whenever I needed to do laundry, I could just take a cube and toss it into the water as the washing machine filled up.

This recipe makes 12 cubes, however, you can make the cubes smaller in size, if you aren’t doing big loads of laundry. I have a double load washer, meaning I can fit twice as many clothes in 1 wash as a regular person, so a full cube is perfect for doing those big loads. But if you’re doing clothes for say, one or two people, a half-sized cube should work fine.

You could still use a full cube, since it’s not like it would over-wash your clothes, but if you want to get the most you can out of one batch, I’d recommend making half-sized ones, instead.

Of course, once you make a batch, you can always experiment to see how big of a cube you personally need.

Also, if you’re using it as a toilet bowl cleaner, it’s similar to the washing machine: drop it into the bowl, and then let it sit for a few minutes (I usually do about 5-10) before scrubbing it with the brush. Flush once done scrubbing, and it should be clean and ready to go!


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Switching to a Zero Waste Toilet Paper (Who Gives a Crap Review)

On my journey into living a more zero waste lifestyle, I discovered a pretty startling fact about toilet paper. Though I’ve said it a few times already in other posts, it really belongs at the start of this one: We cut down 27,000 trees everyday to make toilet paper.

This is such an outrageous stat, that even though I learned it last year, it still partially breaks my brain whenever I think about it.

Seriously, think about it: it takes a long time for a tree to fully grow. Sometimes it takes 40, 50 or hell, even 100 years – an entire lifetime for them to reach their peaks, and what do we do with them? Cut them down, only to use them in something we use 1 time, and then immediately discard.

Call me crazy, but if I worked 40 years (or longer) on something, and then had to watch someone tear it down just to turn it into something they immediately threw away, I’d be pretty upset.

So, what are we to do? The obvious answer would be to just stop making toilet paper. But then there’s the issue of what we use instead. Sure, bidets are a thing, but I don’t think they’re for everybody.

And what other solutions are there, if someone doesn’t want to try a bidet? They could shower after every time they use the bathroom, so that they’re clean, but that would be highly impractical, and, not to mention, a huge waste in water.

So, what else is there to do?

The other solution is to start making toilet paper out of something else.

Sounds crazy, right? Well, thankfully, it’s not! Some companies are already doing this. Like the company I’m going to be talking about today: Who Gives a Crap.

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Aptly named for a company who’s main focus is toilet paper, they have an amazing solution to our paper-y woes. Their toilet paper is made either out of bamboo, or recycled paper.

But Ater, isn’t cutting down bamboo just as bad as cutting down a tree?” That’s a great question! It wouldn’t be much of a solution if we were just depleting something else, would it? Well, thankfully, bamboo is a type of grass, so it grows back quickly – much more quickly than a tree would, which makes it a great substitute to regular paper tp.

I know what you must be thinking, how in the heck would bamboo toilet paper even work? Isn’t bamboo just for aesthetic looking wood furniture? Nope, it’s not. It can be turned into paper, and other materials, too!

It does have a different feel than paper toilet paper, but it’s nothing too jarring, I promise!

Take a look here:

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Here is a roll of WGAC’s bamboo toilet paper (on the left), next to a roll of Charmin Extra Strong. (Charmin was the toilet paper I was using before switching)

As you can see, the bamboo roll is slightly bigger in size, and the cardboard roll it comes on is smaller, so you get more toilet paper per roll. You may also be able to tell, that the bamboo roll looks firmer/stiffer than the regular paper one.

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This is a close-up of the bamboo’s texture. It is pretty comparable to a paper towel, one side is bumpy and slightly rough, and the other is softer, but still firm. The firmness makes it great at, erm… doing what toilet paper is meant to do, and it doesn’t disintegrate as you use it, unlike some other softer products.

This is actually something I noticed that happened with their recycled paper toilet paper. It still has one rough-ish side, and one softer side, but the softer side is way softer than the bamboo – it’s actually the same softness as the Charmin roll. Which makes sense, since the recycled one is still made out of paper. For me, personally, I value structural integrity over super softness, so I’ll be sticking with their bamboo paper from now on. (Once I finish the recycled rolls, of course)

If you’re still undecided, you can always get a box of both, and see which one you like better. They only sell their toilet paper in boxes of 24 or 48 rolls, so unfortunately if you end up not liking one of them, you’ll have a lot of them to get through.

But, you could always gift some of the rolls to people you know, or use them as emergency rolls if you run out of the other kind.

Switching was also super easy. Like, ridiculously so. I just placed my order online and waited for it to show up. Then, once it got here (and I sprayed it with isopropyl alcohol to sanitize), I found a spot to put the box, and used as normal.

If you’re thinking of switching (which I highly recommend), I would warn you to order before you’re in desperate need of replacement toilet paper. Both my orders (bamboo and recycled) arrived in 14 days. So, y’know, make sure you have enough toilet paper to cover that waiting period, or longer, depending on where you’re located.

My first order, which was the 24 box of the bamboo rolls, was $55.79 CAD ($42 USD) because I had to get it from the US site. (Their Canadian site didn’t exist then) When I placed my order for the recycled paper (another 24 box), it was only $47.46 CAD, because I was able to get it from the Canadian site.

That may seem like a pretty steep price to some people, but it’s definitely worth the bit of extra cost in my eyes. Not only are you buying a premium, non-tree-killing toilet paper, but 50% of their profits go to help build toilets for people in need.

How cool is that?

You’re helping make someone else’s life more hygienic and better, just by simply buying an essential!

Also, if you only need to buy toilet paper twice a year, the price is actually less all together than it would be if you were, say, buying it every month. It’s a bigger price at once, but over-all it should actually be cheaper.

Unless you’re getting your toilet paper from Dollarama or something, in which case I beg you to stop doing that to yourself and test out these guys. I promise you won’t be disappointed!

Not only is this company helping to save the planet, and help people in need, but they also individually wrap their rolls, so that they are also plastic free!

This is the wrapping on the bamboo rolls.

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These are the wrappers on the recycled paper rolls.

Not only does the wrapping make the rolls pretty to look at, but you can also re-use it for crafts, projects, or even to wrap presents!

Who Gives a Crap is hands down one of the best companies I’ve ever found, and I seriously cannot recommend them enough!

If your toilet paper situation is fine, or you still have reservations about going paperless, they do sell a few other paperless replacements, like tissues or paper towels. You could always try testing those out first, and then move on to the more ‘intimate’ product later.


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2021 Zero Waste Goal Recap (+2022 Goals)

This article was written 21.12.05, please excuse any joke/reference that’s no longer applicable.


Happy new year!

How was everyone’s holiday break? Good? Bad? Stressfully filled with no (or very few) zero waste options?

Don’t worry if you ‘slipped up’ this past holiday season – that part of the year is literally designed to be thrown away. Think about it: plastic decorations, wrapping paper, gift bags, cards – everything that makes it ‘festive’ is basically just fancy trash!

You don’t have to beat yourself up if you used a festive napkin at a get-together or couldn’t resist buying a plastic decoration. These things happen. The important thing to remember is that the Earth doesn’t need everyone doing zero waste perfectly, it needs everyone doing it imperfectly.

As long as you’re trying to do better, you’re already ahead.

Speaking of trying to do better, at the beginning of last year, I made this post, which outlined my zero waste goals for 2021. And I thought, since I went to the trouble of making a post telling you what my goals were, it would be kind of dumb if I didn’t make a follow up post to let you know whether or not I actually reached them.

To recap, in the post I made last year, I said the main thing I wanted to try and stop using was paper towels, and then zip lock bags, if I managed to stop using paper towels.

I’d like to report that I accomplished removing these things from my life, and I can now move on…but if I did that, I’d 100% be lying!

I didn’t stop using paper towels, and I definitely still use Ziploc bags. Instead, I decided to test out a more eco-friendly toilet paper, and, I’m happy to report, I’ve been using it exclusively since trialling it last year!

I mentioned it in passing in the goals post for last year, that chopping down a 40 year old tree for something you use 1 time and then throw out is crazy – which it is – and the more research I did into toilet paper, the more I felt compelled to change that first.

Since I wanted to change things in order of the most wasteful, so that my changes would have the biggest impact, changing toilet paper actually should’ve been the first thing I changed.

As I was researching paper towels, I stumbled across a stat that blew my mind: 27,000 trees are cut down per day for toilet paper. Per day!

That’s an insane amount of trees being cut down for something people definitely don’t use more than once. Similar to when I went vegan, once I knew, I couldn’t un-know, and I definitely didn’t want to be contributing to that stat anymore, so, I started researching alternatives.

Now, there are varying degrees of alternatives to paper toilet paper – for instance, there are bidets, which are pretty widely known, but thinking about the future, since the bidet is something that has to use water, and attach to your toilet, I decided that wouldn’t be the right option for me. (I’m planning on converting a bus into a tiny house on wheels, and using a dry [composting] toilet – there will actually be an article coming out later this year explaining this in more depth)

Then I found a more… let’s call it ‘unique’ alternative called Family Cloth. This one… well, it probably is the most eco-friendly, since it involves taking what would otherwise be trash and reusing it, but, it also seems the most gross and labour-intensive.

For those of you who don’t know, Family Cloth is pieces of clothing (usually old t-shirts/sweaters/flannel) that have been cut into squares, for you to use like toilet paper. After using, you put the soiled cloth into a bucket of water (or, it might be some sort of water/vinegar cleaning solution) and then you wash the cloth using a washing machine.

While it might not be as gross as I’ve built it up in my mind to be (I’m assuming it might be like reusable period pads – there was a time when I thought I would never use them, and now I use them exclusively), Family Cloth is just something I don’t think I could do, at least for the time being.

That’s why I was over-the-moon excited when I discovered a brand called Who Gives a Crap. They sell toilet paper (and a few other products) that is more eco friendly than conventional toilet paper. They have two kinds available, a bamboo, or a recycled paper version. You’ll be getting a full review of them later this year (March), so I won’t go into too many details, but I ended up trying (and loving) their bamboo paper, so I decided to switch to them once I got my order.

And, I’m happy to report, it wasn’t actually that hard! The difference is very minimal, and I’ve actually gotten used to the texture difference, and don’t even really notice it now. As stated above, this is the only toilet paper I use now, so it was a great switch for me to make.

So, while I didn’t technically reach my zero waste goals for last year, I ended up changing a bigger, and arguably, more important aspect of my life. Which leads me to: my 2022 zero waste goals!

I think I’ll stick with last year’s goals of trying to remove paper towels and, possibly, plastic zip-lock bags. Who Gives a Crap has some Forest Friendly paper towels (they’re made out of bamboo and sugarcane), so I’ll check those out, while I also try to cut back on my over-all use of paper towels. Just because they aren’t made out of trees doesn’t mean I should feel complacent with still producing garbage!

Since I was actively thinking and observing my paper towel use last year, I realized the reason I use them the most is to cut up food or use them instead of a plate. Which is dumb, because I should just be using a cutting board, instead. Or, y’know, a plate!

I don’t even know when it happened, but at some point, grabbing a paper towel just became ‘faster’ than grabbing a cutting board or a plate. Which is actually bullshit, because it literally takes the same amount of effort to grab a paper towel as it does to grab a cutting board or plate.

Do you have any zero waste goals for this year? Let me know in the comments below!


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Zero Waste Christmas Gift Ideas

This article was written 21.06.07, please excuse any reference to the COVID pandemic that no longer applies.


So you’ve decided to go zero waste, or someone you know has decided to go zero waste. Everything was going swimmingly until you realized the holidays were coming fast, and now you’re freaking out because you don’t what you’re gonna do.

First: take a deep breath.

Your loved one didn’t turn into an alien, you can still give them very meaningful gifts without having to create a lot of waste. Your loved one also isn’t going to assume that just because they changed their life, that you are now an expert. As long as you try to give them something that aligns with their new lifestyle, I’m sure they’ll appreciate it.

For those who are trying to become zero waste: Your family may get some stuff wrong, or still give you non-zero waste presents – but that’s totally fine! Being zero waste is not about doing everything perfectly, it’s about trying. As long as you’re trying to do better, you’ll be fine.

Though if you’re super anxious about what they may get you, give them a list! Or, send them this article so they can get some zero waste ideas.

 

Gift Idea #1: Gift Cards

Sure, it’s a little cliché, but gift cards are actually great presents! As long as you know a store the person likes, you’re set. No having to worry about whether you got the right thing, in the right colour, or if they even need the thing – just give them a gift card, and boom! Done. You don’t even have to wrap it! Which is great for the whole don’t-create-waste thing. (Though you may want to at least put it in a card and not like… Frisbee it at their head)

When I was younger (elementary school age), I remember one time I got a gift card from a family member as a gift, and I remember feeling insulted. Every single year, they asked me and my siblings for a list of stuff we wanted, and every single year? They never got us stuff off our lists! This used to drive me crazy! Honestly why would you ask someone what they wanted as a gift and then not buy it?

Anyway, the year I got the gift card, I was upset, because I had given them my list, and they didn’t get me something off it. Again. I felt like they were saying they couldn’t be bothered to actually get me something I wanted (even though I gave them a list).

It wasn’t until later when I went to actually use the gift card that I realized: instead of buying me 1 thing I wanted that I probably wouldn’t like by this time next year, they gave me the freedom to pick whatever I wanted. (As long as it was within the gift card’s price range)

Once I figured that out, I started asking for gift cards every year, and now love to get them! I not only like having the freedom to pick whatever I want, I also think there’s a bit of privacy at play here – yes, they’re family and they might love you, but they don’t need to know every single thing you own.

 

Gift Idea #2: Dry Mason Jar Mixes

You’ve probably seen these on Instagram, or Pinterest, and though I kind of hate how popular they’ve become (I don’t need 100 almost-identical jars to flood my feed every year), they’re actually a pretty cool idea.

You don’t even have to be a good cook to give out these babies! All you need is the ability to measure and pour, and a container you don’t mind never getting back. You don’t even have to really dress them up – just give them a nice-looking label, and maybe tie a ribbon around the lid and you’re done.

There’s also all kinds of dry mixes you can give people: cookies, brownies, cake, cupcakes, pancakes – whatever baked good their hearts desire! You will need to include a recipe card for these, so they do contain a little waste, but it’s way less than having to buy a product (that’s usually in plastic packaging) and then wrapping that in something just to throw it away.

Also, they (or you!) can reuse the jar!

 

Gift Idea #3: An Experience

Similar to the gift card idea, this gift can be great, though some people may turn up their nose at it. You could pay for them to have a massage, a cooking class, concert tickets, a subscription to something you think they’d love – whatever you pick, just make sure it’s an ‘experience’ instead of a physical product. You could also go with them and then your gift is a twofer of not only being a cool thing they can talk about later, but it’s also turned into a good bonding experience.

People often look back on the experiences and things they tried with fondness rather than an item. Life is all about experiences, so why not make someone else’s a little cooler and give them the chance to try something they might not otherwise get to?

If you still want to gift the person an actual item, try to make it something you know they’ll use a lot, or something you know they need, like clothing or a kitchen appliance. Also, see if you can skip the wrapping paper by using a gift bag, or see if you can get some recycled paper and/or paper tape. That way, it’s as zero waste as possible.

Or, you could do what my dad used to when I was little: tell the gift receiver to stick out their hands and close their eyes. (He did this because he is terrible at wrapping presents, so he’d often forego wrapping all together and just hide whatever it was behind his back) Can’t get more zero waste for wrapping than using none!

I hope the above ideas have helped to get your zero waste gift-giver ball rolling. It’s really not that hard to make things ‘zero waste’, it just takes a little bit more thought when you’re first getting started. But, once you’ve gotten the hang of it, it’ll become as normal as any of your other traditions/lifestyle choices.

Case in point: Even before I ever heard of the words ‘zero waste’, I was trying to think of homemade gifts I could give my family because I was broke. (Want to give a stranger a zero waste present? Sign up for my Patreon! Doing so allows me to continue bringing you the content you love, for as little as $1/month!) I decided to make homemade snacks and handed them out in jars I got from Dollarama.

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Everyone loved them! Not only did almost everyone finish their jars before the get together ended, they also marvelled at how ‘unique’ a gift idea it was. I didn’t think they were going to finish them at the party, but it worked out well, because everyone who finished gave me their jars back and said they wanted a refill for next year. So I reused the jars the next year, and again, they were a hit.

I planned on reusing them again, but that’s when the pandemic hit. Not to worry though, I still have them! They’re just waiting to be used whenever we can see each other again. I even left the labels and bows on, so everyone keeps getting their own jars back!


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3 Tips On How to Have a Zero Waste Halloween

With cheap, plastic decorations, bulk boxes of individually wrapped candies and chocolates in plastic, and even the costumes, Halloween (or, any holiday, really) definitely doesn’t spring to mind when you think of ‘zero waste’, but that doesn’t mean you can’t still have one!

Yes, it’s totally possible (and not all that much more work) to have a zero waste Halloween!

With just a little tweaking, you can have the zero waste Halloween that your wallet (and planet!) will thank you for having.

 

Tip #1: Make Your Own Treats!

I figured I would start with the hardest tip, and then work our way down. The most environmentally friendly and most zero waste way to still have a kick-ass Halloween is definitely to make your own treats.

Obviously, you can’t pass these out at the door (well, you could, but I don’t think parents would let them eat homemade stranger candy), but if you’re having a grown-up party, or even just your own house party with your kids, this is an awesome tip!

Not only will you get to binge on healthier treats (since you’re buying all the ingredients you need, you’ll know exactly what’s going into them), but I’m sure your kids would love to help bake/create the treats with you. It’s a fun way to spend the day, and you get a reward for all your hard work at the end!

Another bonus of making homemade treats? You can literally make whatever you want! Not that into chocolate? Don’t make it! Really craving a rice crispy square? Get yourself some marshmallows (if searching for vegan ones, I recommend Dandies), and rice cereal and go at it. Want to try homemade chocolate? Go get yourself some cocoa butter and Silk (milk) and go nuts! Rather not eat typical ‘candy’? No problem! Get your bakers hat on, and whip up some cookies, brownies, or whatever other treat your heart desires. And, to make them festive, you could decorate them with the Halloween theme in mind!

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The only limitation to the treats you create is your imagination!

If you want to make actual ‘candy’ at home (i.e. lollipops, hard candies like Jolly Ranchers, etc.) you’ll maybe not want to let the kids help with those. Those items require boiling sugar and that stuff gets super hot/a tad dangerous to work with, if you don’t know what you’re doing.

If you want to give some of your homemade treats away (I only recommend doing this to people you know/who trust you enough to actually eat what you hand-make, that way your good intentions don’t end up in the garbage), you can get some jars/containers and decorate them simply before giving them away. Similar to the dry mixes some people give at Christmas. Do them up a little pretty, and people are sure to love them!

 

Tip #2: Don’t Buy a Single-Use Costume

My mom was always really big into Halloween, so maybe this was just my family, but some of my best Halloween memories consist of mix and matching clothes I already had to make my costume. Sure, we had to go buy Halloween make-up (weren’t gonna waste ‘the good stuff’) and maybe a wig, but the majority of our costumes growing up were homemade.

If you don’t want to wear your everyday clothes, check out past year costumes you already have, to see how you can give them a new life as something else, or, go hit up a thrift store (like Value Village), that may have some more specific Halloween-themed pieces. The trick here is to go through what you already have, see what your missing, and then either go get a few choice pieces to complete the look that can be re-used in the future, or change what your costume is, so you can use pieces you already have.

You could also keep a few things from your Capsule Wardrobe purge to keep specifically to wear for Halloween. This way, you won’t care if you have to say, roll it around in the dirt to get the specific look, (we actually did this one year) or cut some holes into it.

Or, you could just forgo the costumes if you’re not going out/not that into it. You could have a house party in your pj’s watching scary movies with family and friends, instead.

 

Tip #3: Buy In Actual Bulk!

If you don’t want to make your own treats, or you don’t have the skills to make one treat in particular that you just absolutely need to make Halloween special to you, try to get it at an actual bulk store!

Here in Canada, we have this place called Bulk Barn, and every year around Halloween, they have a few dedicated bins to Halloween treats. Foil-wrapped chocolates, hard candies, gummy worms with a bat decoration stuck to the bin, etc. Basically they slap a ghost or spider-web on some of their regular offerings and call it a day.

But this is still better than buying those boxes of big-name treats, because you can fill your own container* with the exact amount of treats you’ll need. So yes, this option still gives you waste (depending on what treats you’re buying), but it’s still better than getting a bunch of those giant cardboard boxes (that can’t be recycled! The dyes used to make those silly pictures sometimes prevent the cardboard from being recyclable), filled to the brim with plastic wrappers.

I recommend you go out and buy store-bought treats last, because it will create some more waste than the other options here, but if you absolutely feel you need to, then do it. Zero waste isn’t about denying yourself things you like, or feeling like you have to ‘give up’ things you enjoy, it’s about helping the planet and minimizing your environmental impact.

It’s also impossible to be ‘true’ zero waste in today’s society, so don’t worry too much about trying to be perfect. Everyone creates waste – the trick you need to remember is to create as least as you can, as often as you can. If you create a little bit more than usual once a year, there’s no Zero Waste Police who are gonna show up and fine you, or revoke your zero waste card.

So relax, and have fun!

*Bulk Barn has temporarily suspended it’s BYO policy due to COVID safety practices. Call/check your local bulk store to see if/when the policy will change back


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Tiny Houses vs Skoolies vs Van Life

This article was written 21.06.02. Please excuse any reference/joke about the pandemic that is longer applicable.


There are lots of different options to living small, which is great! But, if you’re a newb, how are you supposed to know which way is the best fit for you?

Not to worry, because today I’ll go through three of the biggest ways to live small, and explain the differences so that you can make a more informed decision.

Please note: this article isn’t the be-all, end-all of tiny living information. I always recommend you do your own research, and look at multiple articles, posts and even videos of people living these different lifestyles so you can hear from a wide range of sources.

Tiny Houses

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You can technically call Skoolies and van conversions ‘tiny houses’ as well, but I’m going to use this term in this article to mean non-vehicle small houses.

‘Tiny house’ refers to homes that are (usually) 400 square feet or less, and are more stationary than a vehicle home. Tiny houses can be built either on a trailer (wheels), or right on the ground like a regular house. These homes are better suited for those who don’t want to travel very often, but who still want to reap the benefits of small living.

Most tiny homes I’ve seen consist of a kitchen, living room and bathroom on one floor, and then a bedroom and/or office/second bedroom built in a loft area. You don’t have to follow this formula however. It’s your house, so you can make it look however you want! Though, that does bring us to an important question: will you be building out the tiny yourself, or outsourcing to a company that specializes in building them?

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Some companies have certain templates you must follow if you want to order a house from them. While DIY-ing your house gives you all the freedom and flexibility you may want, there’s a big risk involved if you don’t know what you’re doing. And sure, you could learn – there are many DIY-ers who built their own house – but building a house from literally nothing can be a huge project to undertake.

And, because this is a tiny house, there are even more logistic questions you’ll need to keep in mind, like:

– Will you build on a wheel base, or right on the ground?

– If building on a wheel base, are you able to conform your dream home to road safety standards so it can be transported?

– Will you make your house on or off-grid?

– Do you have a plot of land you can put/build the house on, or will you be renting a space?

– Are tiny houses even allowed in your city/country as the main living area?

I’d recommend checking out the laws wherever you are before getting your heart set on a tiny home. There’s nothing more crushing than getting excited for something, only to have the government say it’s not allowed.

 

Skoolies/Bus Life

‘Skoolies’ originally started out as a term to refer to converted school buses, but I’ve seen other bus lifers use this term to describe their non-school bus conversions, too.

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Many people choose living in vehicles over building out a tiny home, because converting a vehicle gives them more freedom to travel. Since vehicles are already built to road standards, and you’re starting with a structure, some find converting a vehicle easier to do than starting from scratch.

Another benefit of converting a bus is the fact they come in many different sizes! Most buses range from 25 to 40 feet in length, which is a ton of space when compared to building out a van. Though, because the vehicles are pre-sized, one downside to bus conversions (and van conversions) compared to tiny houses, is the fact that they’re typically narrower than you may be used to. Most buses and vans are between 7-8.5 feet wide.

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You can also usually find school buses for pretty cheap, since most school boards operate on an ‘age out’ system. This means that while the buses are still in great condition (because the school board has to maintain them) and have a few good years left, due to their age, the district switches them out, regardless. A similar thing happens with city transit, shuttle and even tour buses! Which is awesome, because that means more options for you.

A lot of buses also come with pre-built storage compartments, and some (such as coach and tour buses) may already also have plumbing and even Wi-Fi installed. This is great because that can help you not only keep the cost of conversion down, but may also help you finish your conversion sooner.

So, which bus should you get? Well, that depends on you and your needs. The biggest complaint I’ve seen with school bus converters is the fact that yes, they were able to get the vehicle for cheap, but they had to spend more on the conversion, because school buses aren’t meant for long distance drives. A common complaint I’ve seen with shuttle buses is the fact that they are slightly wider than most other buses, which can make driving down certain narrow roads a challenge. And while transit buses are good for long drives, these typically sit pretty low to the ground which again, depending on what type of roads you plan on driving down can be a problem.

That said, buses are a great medium for those who want a bit more space than vans allow, but more freedom than a tiny home. Also, no matter which tiny you choose, they all are going to have a list of both pros and cons. You just have to find the one that you think would work best for you.

 

Van Life

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Van conversions are arguably the most aesthetic of the three tiny home types, but just because they are flooding your Instagram feed doesn’t mean they’re the best choice for you.

Sure vans are more compact, which is great for driving and parking in regular spaces, but can you really live in 60 square feet? Think about how small that really is. A 10×10 foot bedroom is 100 square feet. Go ahead and look around (and possibly measure) your bedroom. Can you really fit everything you need in such a small space? A kitchen, bedroom, place to work and bathroom?

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(Can’t fit a tub in a van!)

Due to their compact sizes, many van lifers have to choose to live without certain amenities, such as a proper bathroom and/or shower. Pre-pandemic, this was less of a problem, since there were open gyms, cafes, etc. that had free public bathrooms. Now though, you may want to consider giving yourself your own bathroom. Even pandemic aside, public bathrooms are not always the cleanest, and are also not always around when you may need one.

Boondocking is all fun and games until you need to pee (or worse). If there’s no rest stop close by, do you really want to pack up and leave your gorgeous, private spot, to drive who-knows-how-many-miles back down the road to the closest public bathroom? Or, are you comfortable popping a squat where you are? Is it even legal to do so in that area? (Yes, there are laws about this)

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A lot of vans also don’t come with pre-installed storage, and again, because they’re smaller in size, you can’t fit as much in them. Sure there are some crazy conversions out there that have tons of storage, but there’s only so much you can do with a small body.

Another con to van life? Because of their increase in popularity, many people are catching on to the stealth camping techniques used by van lifers when staying in a city, and you may get fined (or towed!) if you’re parked somewhere you’re not supposed to be.

As said above, tiny living isn’t for everyone, and while you may love the aesthetic of the life, don’t get lost in the rose-coloured Instagram filtered pictures. You need to think out the logistics of living tiny if you want to have any hope of succeeding at it.

That said, if your heart is really in it, and you think you can seriously make it work, then go for it! Continue your research and plans for what you want your goal life to look like, and while I want you to be mindful of the realities of the lifestyles, don’t get discouraged just because it may be harder than you originally thought.

Everybody deserves to be happy.


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Capsule Wardrobes and How To Downsize Your Closet

One of the things everyone has too many of, is clothes. I don’t know what it is, but practically everyone I know has overflowing dressers and closest. And, perhaps the worst part, is that their dressers and closest are overflowing with clothing they won’t even wear!

Seriously, how messed up is that? Why would you keep hundreds of items of clothes if you never wear them? That’s just wasting your money, wasting space for things you actually like/want to wear and is not doing your self-image any favours.

While I can’t tell you to stop buying yourself clothes (just because we’re in lockdown doesn’t mean you won’t ever have to go outside again), I can help you start the process of whittling down your wardrobe.

The first step to downsizing your wardrobe? Get rid of everything that doesn’t fit (yes, even that goal weight item you’re keeping for ‘inspiration’), and anything you haven’t worn in over a year. Chances are, if you haven’t worn it again, it’s probably because you don’t actually like it. By ‘get rid of’, I do not mean throw in the garbage! Unless it’s actually super holey and can’t be worn, donate them! There are tons of second hand stores that are always looking for clothing donations. (I know with COVID this may make it harder, but just be sure to do your research on the new donating guidelines!)

If the clothes are too worn/holey/stained to be donated, see if you can cut them up and turn them into something else. There are tons of tutorials online of creative ways to upcycle old clothing. I personally have made a few fabric bracelets, a hair tie, and reusable pads out of old clothes. (There will be a dedicated reusable pad/zero waste period post coming soon!)

Also, if you have an insane amount of the exact same item of clothing, get rid of it! There are only 7 days in a week, and unless you don’t have a washing machine, or get covered in mud every single day, you don’t need 7+ of the same t-shirt, or pairs of the exact same leggings. Honestly, no one will care if you repeat an outfit, and if they do, well… let’s just say there are more important issues to be worrying about.

Okay, now that you have a few tips to help you downsize, let’s get on to the items you’ll be keeping. Adopting a capsule wardrobe can be a huge help in not only maintaining your style, but also in keeping you from buying too many clothing items. The concept of a capsule wardrobe is simple: you just make sure that each new piece of clothing you buy (or each item you’re keeping) will match with something you already own. It’s basically turning your wardrobe into a giant mix and match set.

So, now that you know what a capsule wardrobe is, let’s get into the how-to.

 

Step 1. Choose a Base Colour.

This can be any colour you want! Yellow, green, pink, pastel, even tie-dyed! It all depends on your style, and what you want your wardrobe to say. This colour will be the bottom building block for the rest of your wardrobe (i.e. the colour you have the most of), so make sure it’s one that you love to wear!

I personally try to dress ‘gothic country’ (which I’m pretty sure is a style I invented), so that made choosing my base colour really easy: Black. It goes with everything, and I had the added bonus of having a lot of pieces that were already this colour. (Instead of having to rush out and buy more to my already-over-flowing closet)

 

Step 2. Select Neutral Essentials

Keep these items a solid colour that is different then your base colour. These items are these that you wear with most, if not every outfit combo you make. You can have multiple colours for your neutral essentials, as long as they go with your base colour. For me, these colours include white, grey and denim.

 

Step 3. Choose An Accent Colour (Optional)

This has to match the other colours, but this one can be a vibrant colour, or, (if your other colours are vibrant), can be a darker colour. This is to add some contrast/’pop’ to your outfits.

 

Step 4: Shoes, Jackets and Accessories

For shoes and jackets, it’s best to keep them as your base colours. However, accessories can be a vibrant accent colour. Just, be sure not to wear too many bright accessories. If your whole outfit is black, wearing ten red/blue/some-other-bright-colour accessories would just look out of place.

 

Again though, these tips are for general practices and will change wildly depending on your own personal style. You could make your base ‘colour’ polka dots if you really wanted – it all depends on what you want your style to be.

The main point of building a capsule wardrobe is to be able to wear most of your clothing with each other, so you’re not constantly buying new clothes/outfits. It doesn’t matter if you execute a ‘perfect’ capsule wardrobe, what matters is you being able to get rid of all the unnecessary clothes you own, in a sustainable way/a way that you can actually keep up with.


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Reusable Alternatives for Single Use Plastics

If you don’t know by now that single use plastics suck, I’m just gonna go ahead and assume you’re an alien. Because seriously, where have you been if you don’t know that?

Everyone knows single use plastics suck, that’s not news. The news is: we can finally replace them with sustainable alternatives!

Sure, there are some of the obvious/in-your-face replacements that everyone knows, *cough* reusable straws! *cough*, but those aren’t the only single use plastics we need to focus on replacing. And, let’s be honest, most people who jumped on the reusable straw train don’t actually use straws all that often – so their impact isn’t as big, but they still get the ego boost of ‘doing something good’.

For example: I don’t use straws (less than 1 time a year), and the once in a blue moon I do use one, I use the plastic one I have that came with a cup. So for me, buying a reusable metal or silicone straw wouldn’t have that big of an impact. (Though it’s definitely still on my list!)

My biggest waste was the pads I was using for my period. As a woman, that’s something I cannot control, that I have to go through 12 times a year (usually more). For my period, I was using 3 disposable pads per day (2 day time, and 1 night), for about 6 days. This meant I was using at least 18 pads per cycle.

On average, I have 14 periods per year, which means I use about 252 pads in 1 year. 252! That was insane for me to see calculated out like that. I was contributing almost 300 pieces of garbage to the Earth each year – and this was someone who thought they didn’t produce very much trash! So, last year (2020), my goal was to start using reusable pads and to be strictly on reusable pads by the end of the year. (The full reusable period post is coming soon!)

I’m proud to say I’m 100% using reusable pads now, so instead of using 252 pads a year, I now only use 12. Even if I have to replace them every year, that’s still a huge reduction in my garbage impact. And the best part? It didn’t take all that long to get used to the change.

That’s the other great thing about reducing your single use plastics – it doesn’t take that much time to get used to the change, and, often you won’t even notice the change, and will be glad because the alternative is usually so much better!

AterImber.com - No Mad - Reusable Alternatives for Single Use Plastics - Nutrient Collage Series - Omega-3's Collage - vegan tips, vegan food, vegan blogger, health tips, nutrients, Omega-3's, vegan food blogger, new vegan tips

As you can see, I included the usual suspects (reusable straws and cutlery), but I also feature some often not talked about alternatives. Why aren’t these single use plastics talked about? Well, I’m no expert, but I think it’s because these companies might actually not give that much of a crap about the planet. I mean, think about it, it’s much easier for a company to say they’re getting rid of plastic straws, than say, all plastic packaging. Also, what sucks is the ones that aren’t talked about often are the ones that will have a bigger impact on the planet.

But, now that I’ve given you this handy collage of great swaps to make, you have 0 excuses to not at least start switching some of your single use plastics to reusables. This collage obviously doesn’t have every plastic swap you could make, but I think these are pretty good alternatives for beginners. This is really just to get the ball rolling and getting you used to seeing what could be changed, more than an exhaustive list of everything.

I also didn’t want to overwhelm fellow newbs. I understand how disheartening it can be when you start diving in to these swap lists and look around and see just how much of your stuff is made of plastic (seriously, I never noticed how much of my own stuff was made from plastic before).

And, if you have any questions or concerns, feel free to reach out! I’ve found the zero waste community very welcoming, so please don’t be shy! And remember: the planet needs everyone doing zero waste imperfectly, more than a few people doing it 100% perfect (which is literally impossible, anyway).


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